Cucumber Salad

Easy Cucumber Salad

I grew up with various versions of this salad—sometimes homemade, sometimes from the deli—as part of the much anticipated bagels-and-smoked-salmon brunches we sometimes had at our house. The rich oily fish and the steaming bowl of savory scrambled eggs must have inspired my mother to find something slightly green and slightly fresh to round out the menu. Though she clearly wasn’t looking for something with no salt in it.

Crispy and slightly pickley, this salad is light and crunchy and very refreshing.

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Make Ahead Cucumber Salad

If you like a super-crispy salad, make this right before serving. But, if you like (as I do) a salad with some crunch but a slightly more pickle-y marinated quality, then make it a day ahead.

How to Make Cucumber Salad

In a perfect world you let the cucumbers macerate (soften) in some salt for a bit, which pulls out some of the liquid from the watery cucumbers. Place the cucumber and onion in a colander and toss with the salt. Let sit in the sink or over a bowl for 30 to 40 minutes to catch the liquid that will drip out.

Cucumber Salad

Then, rinse the cucumbers and onion and using your hands, or better yet a clean dishtowel to squeeze the liquid from the vegetables. Just pile the rinsed cucumbers and onions in a line down the middle of the dishtowel, roll it up , and twist and squeeze over a bowl or the sink.

Cucumber Salad

If you don’t have the time to salt and drain the cucumbers and onion, you will still have a lovely, clean-tasting salad. But without salting first, the salad will get watery more quickly, so if you do skip that step, it’s best to serve it within a day. And with that said, I am always happy to discover a container of leftover pickle-y salad in my fridge, even a few days later.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, a few hours before you plan to serve it. Leftovers are fine, but the cucumbers will lose some crunch and the dressing might get a bit watery; you can drain off any excess liquid if you like.

Cucumber Salad Recipe: Crispy and slightly pickley, this salad is light and crunchy and very refreshing.

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Seedless Cucumbers

Cucumber Salad

You can also use two seedless cucumbers, if you can’t find the small ones. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out the small amount of seeds using a teaspoon (even seedless cucumbers have seeds!). Cut the cucumber halves into thin half-moon slices.

Bagels and Appetizing Cucumber Salad

This is one of the oddest phrases in the Jewish culinary spectrum, in my modern opinion. Appetizing is an adjective, right? Yes, but it’s also an old New York noun, and in this context it is defined as “the food one eats with bagels,” and generally is understood to encompass the array of foods one finds on the Jewish brunch table: lox (or smoked salmon), whitefish, herring, cream cheese, pickled things. No non-fish meat products, however, because of kosher dietary laws. So, in Jewish parlance, an appetizing store is a place that sells fish and dairy products, whereas a kosher delicatessen sells meat.

So there you have it, but I can’t imagine that the creators of this term ever thought there might be sun-dried tomato or blueberry cream cheese alongside the herring.

And this cucumber salad is one of those perennial mainstays of the Jewish deli offerings. But because it is so darn easy to make, and tastes so much better when it’s made in your own kitchen, resist the urge to buy it. In 15 minutes you can have your own homemade cucumber salad. A bit more time if you want to salt the cucumbers.

Cucumber Salad

What to Serve Cucumber Salad with:

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Cucumber Salad

Crispy and slightly pickley, this salad is light and crunchy and very refreshing.
Yield: 6 People

Ingredients

  • 12 mini or baby cucumbers about 1 pound
  • 1 medium-size red onion halved and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Thinly slice the cucumbers. Place the cucumber and onion slices in a colander and toss with the salt. Let sit in the sink or over a bowl for 30 to 40 minutes If you have time) to catch the liquid that will drip out.
  • Rinse the cucumbers and onion in very cold water. Then, rinse the cucumbers and onion and using your hands, or better yet a clean dishtowel squeeze the liquid from the vegetables, getting as much water out as possible..
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the vinegar, oil, dill, sugar, and pepper. Toss to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a day, knowing the salad will soften as it marinates.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 41kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1166mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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